And That Happened

White Sox 9, Red Sox 5: Who needs Billy Wagner when you have Nick Green? The shortstop pitches two shutout innings. That’s a huge increase in the number of innings he’s thrown over last year, but don’t worry: Since he’s over 25, the Verducci Effect probably doesn’t come into play.

Dodgers 3, Rockies 2: Vicente Padilla. Who knew? Nothing special of course — two runs on six hits over five — but that’s a few fewer hits and runs than you might have expected him to give up. This series — and what came before and after it — represents everything fantastic about baseball. The Rockies took three of four from the Giants and won one in dramatic fashion against L.A. 48 hours ago. Then bam, bam, they’re four games out and have to go to San Francisco and face Tim Lincecum, a resurgent Barry Zito and Matt Cain. They could end the week way worse off than they started it, and no one could have expected it as late as Wednesday afternoon. It’s a relentless season that gives no quarter. You can’t pump yourself up once a week or ride a hot hand. Twenty-five guys have to go out there every single day and do it. It actually makes exercises like these daily recaps rather silly, as the true story of the season can only truly be seen from a distance. The true mettle of a team revealed in its skills at long term survival.

Diamondbacks 11, Giants 0: Then again, maybe the Rockies don’t have much to worry about this weekend.

Pirates 3, Phillies 2: So your first closer blows one, and your second closer blows one again the next night. Now what do you do? Well, you can leave your starter out there the whole game, which is what Charlie Manuel did with J.A. Happ last night. That didn’t work either as Happ gives up two in the eighth, so now it looks like the Phils are on to Plan D. Say, I wonder what would it take to pry Nick Green away from Boston . . .

Braves 9, Padres 1: Atlanta salvages one behind seven shutout innings by Javier Vazquez, who had an RBI to boot. Nine runs and seventeen hits for the Braves, but the only extra-base hit was Adam LaRoche’s homer in the sixth. Otherwise, it was single-fest.

Nationals 5, Cubs 4: Milton Bradley was 0 for 5, and is in a big slump. I have no idea if Cubs fans actually hate him like he thinks they do, but if they don’t already, he’s giving them ample reason. The Cubs are now nine behind St. Louis. “Look, let’s just win some baseball games. Forget the Cardinals and every other team,” said Lou Piniella after the game. As long as that includes the Cubs, I think everyone is on board.

Astros 4, Cardinals 3: Jeff Keppinger hit what would prove to be the winning homer with two out in the ninth, averting a sweep by the Cards. Nice rally, however small, the day after Oswalt said the team was “dead.” Then again, maybe Oswalt didn’t really mean the team was dead. I always have taken comments like that to be the way players communicate their general unhappiness with the manager to the press and team brass.

Indians 5, Royals Orioles 4 [I have no idea what I was smoking]: Andy Marte homered, tripled and drove in a couple. He’s still no great shakes on the year, but he’s on a warmish streak of late. If he keeps it up, he may actually be given one final chance to be an all-season everyday starter in 2010. Because he’s a former Braves prospect — and because I fear that the concept of being a AAAA player extends to other walks of life beyond baseball and I thus want to see it debunked out of fear and anxiety — I’m kind of rooting for him to make it.

Rangers 7, Yankees 2: The team whose starter struck out 12 dudes in six innings lost, and the team whose starter walked seven in 3.2 IP won. That makes sense.

Reds 8, Brewers 5: Nothing I can say can beat the storylines as told by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal. First, Tom Haudricourt’s game story starts like this: “It was another discouraging day at Miller Park on Thursday as the Brewers ended a discouraging series in what has become a discouraging second half.” The headline to Michael Hunt’s column puts it more succinctly: “Another dank day of despair for our ’09 Brewers.” I’m guessing they’ve all turned their attention to the Badgers and Pack by now.

Mets 10, Marlins 3: Day games in Miami in August make total sense. The box score says that there over 12,000 paid to see this game, but based on the crowd shots I saw, there couldn’t have been half that. Which raises a philosophical question: if the Mets get 17 hits and no one was there to see it, did it really happen?

Athletics 2, Angels 0: Trevor Cahill threw two-hit shutout ball over seven innings and Mike Wuertz and Andrew Bailey shut out the Angels for the remaining two innings. This is bizarre: “The Angels’ uniformed personnel and front office staff assembled in center field before batting practice for the 2009 team photo, but RHP Jered Weaver missed because he was home with the flu. So PR guy Eric Kay stood in wearing Weaver’s No. 36 jersey, and the pitcher’s head will be superimposed when it is printed.” What happens if, say, Juan Rivera screws up something really bad in a playoff game that costs the team the season. Do they airbrush him out like Stalin did with purged political enemies? Because the possibilities here seem limitless.

And no, I have no idea why I missed the Mariners-Royals score, but the Royals won. I hope my oversight doesn’t screw up the historical record or anything.

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  1. Kevin said...

    The Royals are so bad, now they’re losing to teams that are playing 3000 miles away.

    Either that or a minor oversight prevented Craig from realizing that another former Braves prospect had an OK outing for them in Seattle.

  2. ecp said...

    I thought I had entered a time warp or something.  Umm…Craig…wake up, Craig.  The Royals played in Seattle last night.  The team the Indians beat 5-4 was actually the Orioles.

    Well, OK, if I’m not in a time warp, I’m at least in an alternate universe when Kyle Davies pitches all right and the Royals hit four home runs to win the game.  Or maybe I just dreamed it…

  3. Kevin said...

    <Or maybe I just dreamed it…</i>

    In your dream, after Yuni spanked the ball over the left field fence, did he or did he not sing “My Way” while the Nelson Riddle Orchestra accompanied him around the bases?

  4. lar said...

    Let me tell you something, Craig – Milwaukee fans can get fatalistic with the best of them. They’ll ride that wave of optimism hard and fast but, the moment it starts cresting, man-oh-man, watch out… I’m actually surprised at how long they rode it this year, considering the Brewers haven’t been playing well since mid-June.

    And I’m not judging my fellow Milwaukeeans. They just need to re-learn how to be a winning franchise/fanbase. After 16 years of crappiness, it can take a little while.

    The NFL season can’t come quick enough for some. I just hope that we ease up on the booing at Miller Park (Jeff Suppan pitching on Jeff Suppan Bobblehead Day Sunday… is it even allowed to boo someone on their own bobblehead day?)

  5. Richard in Dallas said...

    re:TEX/NYY – That’s just what happens when fate is running the show.  See you all in October!

  6. Doracle said...

    I would hasten to add that Matt LaPorta had an exceptional AB in the ninth to extend the game and set up Marte’s homer.  Apparently you were correct in the LaPorta vs. Marte debate: the correct answer is “both.”

    I’m rooting for Andy too.  For what it’s worth, he’s hasn’t looked as overmatched as he did a year or two ago.  Is that faint praise?  Well, he seems to be hitting the ball hard, and working the count far better than I’ve ever seen from him.

    Gimenez has been notable for his absence from the lineup recently.  I was very worried that LaPorta and he would be splitting LF duties, but perhaps Wedge and Shapiro had a long talk about, um, the wisdom of playing .600 OPS players at corner positions.

  7. YankeesfanLen said...

      To have a technically correct dream, Don Costa was the arranger for “My Way” and it can only be used as an officially licensed dream in regard to the New York Yankees.
        Craig will serve papers this afternoon.

  8. Kevin said...

    Not a problem. Betancourt used Dayton Moore’s arrangement of “My Way”, which purports to value subtle interplay among instruments and rich harmonic transitions but actually employs a group of talentless hacks who couldn’t hit their notes with a swinging Sousaphone.

    Also, can you explain the role of the Yankees in the Royals’ loss to the Indians in Seattle?

  9. Will said...

    The Rockies losing was disappointing, but it was hardly unexpected. The Dodgers have been their kryptonite all year—counting this series, I believe LA is 12-3. And the last three games of the season are Colorado at LA.

    On the other hand, the Giants don’t worry me nearly as much.

  10. Travis M. Nelson said...

    Re: photoshopping players into the team picture, I had a few team posters for the Yankees in the mid-90’s, mostly by coincidence as the one game I could afford to attend each year while I was in college happened to be a Saturday in late Sept, when they give those away.  I always wondered about how they managed to get Darryl Strawberry into a photo taken in June when he didn’t join the team until August, or why Brian Boehringer’s face seemed so dark when everyone else in the picture was squinting from the sunlight.

  11. YankeesfanLen said...

      Re: Yankees role in Royals loss to Indians in Seattle:
      Briefly, it concerns Harry Truman, Nirvana, George Steinbrenner (twice), corned beef and Kevin Bacon, with some sabrmetricts thrown in to keep it baseball-y.

  12. Travis M. Nelson said...

    Oh, and speaking of AAAA players who used to be Braves prospects, have you noticed that Garrett Jones leads the Pirates with 15 homers, despite the fact that he missed the first three months of the season?  He’s slugging .608 at the moment, which would be second only to Pujols if he had enough at-bats to qualify. 

    Of course, the fact that nobody else on the Bucs can hit a lick this side of Andrew McCutchen means that he’s the only player in history to hit 15 homers without driving in more than 30 runs, though there’s still a month to play, so that could change.

  13. Kevin said...

    A likely story, but you and I both know that somehow it all comes back to Lou Piniella.

    ¡Bravo! Bien cantado.

  14. APBA Guy said...

    Trevor Cahill has flipped performances with Brett Anderson since the All Star break. The two pitchers, inseparable on the bench, must have decided to befuddle the A’s management by completely reversing roles. Anderson is still a bit ahead at 4.35 in 24 starts to Cahill’s 4.64 in 27 starts, but by the end of September the ERA’s should be nearly identical.

    Speaking of Juan Rivera, his adventures in left led to Ryan Sweeney’s triple. Sweeney hit the ball to the opposite field and hard, like he’d done several times in Seattle. In Seattle left fielder Mike Saunders made two leaping catches and all of Sweeneys efforts resulted in loud outs.

    But Rivera slow footed it back towards the fence, spun once, missed the ball, spun again, missed the bounce, and then noodle-armed the ball to third where Sweeney stood, sipping his second beer.

    Sweeney ultimately scored the A’s second and final run, giving them insurance in a tight contest.

    Also, Kurt Suzuki, in addition to being victimized by the best play this year by a middle infield tandem, had a 400 foot shot hauled in by Torii Hunter in center, and he took one in the kidney from Ervin Santana. Isn’t catching tough enough without all that?

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